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POLITICS: PennAve

President Obama to meet with House GOP leaders Thursday

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Politics,White House,Congress,Barack Obama,Senate,House of Representatives,Republican Party,Democratic Party,Harry Reid,John Boehner,PennAve,Susan Crabtree,Economy,Government Shutdown,House Republicans

President Obama is expected to meet with House Republicans at a meeting on Thursday to break through the budget standoff on Capitol Hill and reopen the federal government.

The meeting with 20 members -- GOP leaders and committee chairmen -- will come on the heels of a Wednesday afternoon White House meeting with House Democrats.

House GOP leaders say the president invited the full House Republican conference to a gathering at the White House, but Speaker John Boehner's office said it would be limited to elected leaders and committee chairmen.

“A meeting is only worthwhile if it is focused on finding a solution,” said Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck. “That's why the House Republican Conference will instead be represented by a smaller group of negotiators, including the elected leadership and certain committee chairmen.”

“It is our hope this will be a constructive meeting and that the president finally recognizes Americans expect their leaders to be able to sit down and resolve their differences,” he said.

The White House, though, criticized Boehner’s decision. Press secretary Jay Carney said Obama was “disappointed that Speaker Boehner is preventing his members from coming to the White House,” in a statement.

“The President thought it was important to talk directly with the members who forced this economic crisis on the country about how the shutdown and a failure to pay the country’s bills could devastate the economy,” he added.

On day nine of the government shutdown House Republicans and Democrats are still at an impasse with GOP leaders demanding concessions before funding the government and President Obama refusing to negotiate.

The Oct. 17 deadline on raising the debt ceiling is also fast approaching, making the possibility of default more of a reality as each day passes.

The financial markets also are starting to reflect growing concern about a potential for a U.S. default, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling more than 150 points on Tuesday, the day of the president's lengthy press conference where he warned of the global economic fallout. As of Wednesday afternoon, the markets had regained that lost ground.

House Republican and Democratic leaders met around midday Wednesday, but the meeting appeared to be more of a status check and there was no word on whether any progress had been made.

Carney repeated Obama's argument from Tuesday that he would be happy to talk to Republicans and hear their concerns but not until the government is re-opened and the debt ceiling is raised.

“That can be worked out between the White House, Democrats and Republicans after Republicans agree to leave the matches and the gasoline outside of the room and sit down and negotiate,” he told reporters.

This story was published at 2:56 p.m. and has been updated.

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Susan Crabtree

White House Correspondent
The Washington Examiner